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Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs
(Born August 28, 1825)
199 Years of Pride in 2024

Français Deutsch--eine Teil-Übersetzung English Español

To join a worldwide, spontaneous, and informal gathering to celebrate the
199th Birthday Anniversary of
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs
First Known Gay Activist

Sunday, August 25, 2024
Monument Cemetery
L'Aquila, Italy

THIS CELEBRATION INTRODUCES GAY people young and old to the heritage that Ulrichs said is rightfully theirs. Let Gay people imbed it in their conscience that Gay rights have been so hard-won, beginning with one lone voice seemingly calling in the desert. Now, Gay people have a rich tradition of such voices, and it all began with Ulrichs. Think about that and celebrate.

FORTHCOMING (2025): To celebrate the bicentenary of Ulrichs' birth: Larks (The Songbirds): An International Latin Journal Originally Titled Alaudae (1889-1895), rendered into English by more than 30 translators worldwide!
Ulrichs' Books: Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover editions!
Who is Karl Heinrich Ulrichs?: Leader of the Pack
Why Celebrate: Dealing an Initial Blow to the Hydra of Homophobia
The Journey to L'Aquila, Italy: L'Aquila is Worth the Journey
Memory Book 2000: A Festschrift Commemorating Ulrichs' 175th Jubilee Birthday Anniversary
Read All About It: Ulrichs' Gay Writings At Last in English
Picture This!: People in L'Aquila, Munich, and Los Angeles
What's Happening?: Calendar of Events
And Everything Else You Wanted To Know: Ulrichsiana
Birthday Suggestions: Exercise That Imagination
Ulrichs' Grave: Can't go to L'Aquila? Put flowers on his "virtual" grave!
Ulrichs Study Center: Outreach Italy
L'Aquila: Map to Cemetery
Cemetery: Map to Ulrichs' Grave
Ulrichs' Grave Saved!: Restoration Efforts Succeed

Who is Karl Heinrich Ulrichs?

Ulrichs: Computer-Aided Design by M.A.Lombardi-Nash, 1988 HERE'S A BRIEF, CONCISE BIOGRAPHY of the life and work of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first known out-of-the-closet Gay activist. He was a risk taker, and risk taking, as they say, separates the men from the boys. To protect his family, in 1864 he used the pseudonym Numa Numantius but dropped it in 1868 when he came out. UraniaWith reference to Venus Urania, the mythical Greek goddess of "Gay" people, Ulrichs coined the term Uranismus (Uranism), his word for homosexuality, which included Lesbians ("Urninds"), Gay men, ("Urnings"), Bisexuals ("Uranodionings"), and Transpersons (Zwitter). He started the modern Gay Movement by being the first to say publicly that Uranians are natural, not sinners, diseased, or criminal. He set a new standard for everyone who followed by bringing a new, positive approach to bear on what he called the riddle of nature. From then on he began to change the way people thought about what is today called same-sex love.
Photo top of page: Ulrichs, from Jahrbuch (Annual), vol. 1 (1899), p. 36; velox 1978 courtesy A.J. Laurent.

  • 1825 Birth on August 28 in Westerfeld near Aurich in uppermost northwestern Germany

  • 1835 Father (a surveyor) dies from injuries sustained after falling into a pit; is buried on Karl's 10th birthday; Karl cancels his birthday party and a date with his own first boyfriend (Ulrichs later reports about his disappointment and about his Gay sexual awakenings beginning at this time -- thereby becoming the first known person to report about [his own] childhood Gay sexuality)

  • 1836 Graduates from elementary school in Aurich

  • 1839 Graduates junior high school in Celle

  • 1844 Graduates high school in Detmold

  • 1844-1846 Göttingen University, studies theology and law; writes dissertation (in Latin) "On Open Forums" (Cross Litigation) -- wins a prize for it

  • 1846-1848 Berlin University, studies theology and law; writes dissertation (in Latin) "On the Peace of Westphalia"

  • 1848 Becomes a political activist; public speaker

  • 1849-1857 Achim, passes the bar and becomes an official legal adviser for the district court of Hildesheim, Kingdom of Hanover

  • 1856 Mother dies

  • 1857-1859 Having been hounded out of the civil service for being "Gay," makes a circular journey: Cologne, Holland, Belgium, Mainz, Stuttgart, Switzerland, Monaco, Graz (Austria), Vienna, Prague, Leipzig; joins a literary society but is expelled because of his writings

  • 1859 takes up residence in Frankfurt-on-Main at Schäferstr. 38 and at Friedbergerstr. 30, works as a secretary

  • 1861-1862 Frankfurt/Main, Reuterweg 10, works as a secretary, authors not only non-Gay legal writings but also coming-out Letters to His Kinsfolk. His action is not well-received by his family

  • 1862 Coins the word Uranismus, his word for homosexuality; writes a defense for a friend arrested for a sex offense -- the first of many defenses; is rejected

  • 1863 Würzburg, Achim, works as a journalist; writes, then, at his own expense, publishes Vindex [Vindicator], and Inclusa [Inclusive], two of the first books in modern history to deal with "same-sex" love in a positive way

  • 1864 Aurich, Hanover, writes and later publishes Vindicta [Rod of Freedom], Formatrix [She (Nature) Who Creates]

    1864 His books are confiscated and banned by Saxony police; ban is lifted six days later by a court order, an event which Ulrichs marks as the beginning of a modern-day movement (May 26)

    1864 Books banned and confiscated by Berlin police -- banned in all of Prussia

    1865 Bremen and Burgdorf, covers local events for a newspaper; writes and publishes (always at his own expense) Ara Spei [Refuge of Hope]

  • 1866 Celle, October, supports the King of Hanover and for political reasons is incarcerated for four months by the Prussian army in Minden prison; books, letters, and writings confiscated; returns to Burgdorf

  • 1867 Burgdorf, April 24, sent to Minden prison again, for six months; more of his books confiscated

  • 1867 August 27-29, Würzburg; goes to Munich, speaks before the Association of German Jurists (500 members)

    1867 Winter, writes and publishes Gladius Furens [Raging Sword], Memnon [Memnon, the statue and the lone voice in the desert]

    1867 Leaves Hanover never to return

    1868 Drops his pseudonym Numa Numantius

  • 1868-1870 Würzburg, Martini Street 374; writes and publishes Incubus, Argonauticus, Prometheus, Araxes [The River in Armenia and natural force]

  • 1871-1879 Stuttgart, Silberburg Street 102; travels, writes, and publishes poetry

  • 1873-1874 Stuttgart, writes and publishes poetry, Auf Bienchens Flügeln [On the Wings of the Little Bee], Apicula Latina [Little< Latin Bee]

  • 1879 writes the 12th and final book of his Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love: Critische Pfeile [Critical Arrows]; goes into self-exile to Italy

  • 1880-1883 Travels to Florence, Ravenna, suburbs of Rome, settles in Naples, via Vico freddo (moves from via Carlo Poerio 4, Naples, in 1883 for health reasons), visits Pesto, Benevento, Sannio, Frigento, Basilicata

  • 1883 After June, settles in L'Aquila, where his health improves

  • 1884 Oct, Palazzo Franchi, via Sassa 56 (apt. 5), as always, at his own expense writes and publishes Matrosengeschichten [Sailor Stories: Manor, The Monk of Sumbö, Sulitelma, Atlantis], and Cypress Twigs: Songs to Ludwig II, King of Bavaria

    1889-1895 writes and publishes Alaudae [Latin: Larks]

    1893, April 27, apartment burns, more writings lost in the fire, moves to Palazzo Persichetti, Piazza S. Maria di Roio, 1

    1895 Receives diploma from the University of Naples

  • 1895 Death on July 14 in L'Aquila. His grave stone is marked (in Latin), "Exile and Pauper".

The First Known Person in Modern History To:

  • Come out of the closet, first to family, then publicly

  • Speak in public to defend Uranism

  • Write coming-out letters to his family

  • Set the positive standard for everyone who followed: Uranism is natural, no sin, no disease, no crime

  • Encourage Uranians to come out of the closet

  • Demand Uranian rights be equal to "heterosexual" rights

  • Call for abolishing anti-Uranian laws

  • Demand women be given equal rights

  • Advise the people of the church to accept Uranians

  • Ask families to support Uranians

  • Reject the "Uranians-are-sick" theories of physicians

  • Claim Uranism also to be a moral and ethical lifestyle

  • Write the first books (12 of them) positively identifying Uranians as natural (that is, not as degenerate "heterosexuals"), and as being healthy, in the state of grace, and upstanding citizens

  • Address in his speeches and writings every Uranian-related issue, such as abortion, suicide, murder, police harassment, childhood sexuality, blackmail, the military, family values, hate crimes, privacy, economics, democracy, and marriage

  • Outline the first known bylaws for a Uranian organization

  • Suggest fundraising to aid Uranian-bashing victims

  • Identify May 26, 1864 (the day the ban on his books was lifted) as the beginning of a Uranian Movement

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Why Celebrate?

HERE PAUL NASH RELATES THE EFFECTS Ulrichs had on him and what Ulrichs actually had to say.

A Personal Story
By Paul J. Nash

The year was 1977 when I first made contact with Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. Who would have known at the time how he would change a life, even though he had been dead for 82 years.

In 1972, I met and started a relationship with Michael Lombardi. He was studying German at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and was very active in the anti-Vietnam-war movement. I was a closeted Gay man attending Los Angeles City College (LACC). Wanting to become Gay activists but not doing much about it, we watched the Gay Pride parade, which was held in Hollywood in those days, and we would join in at the end of the march and attend rallies. That was the extent of our activism.

Michael spent most of his time in classes or studying for them. If some anti-war demonstration or march was taking place, he was always there. Because I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible, I started going to those events with him. I also started reading a few of the books he needed for class assignments (of course I read the English translations while he had to read them in German). I quickly found that I really enjoyed both these activities, and they helped our relationship grow stronger.

In 1975, while Michael and I were in Germany for several months, we did attend meetings of the Homosexual Initiative-Essen. By 1976 the experience of the German activism got mixed in with our desire to become activists.

One day in 1977 Michael came home from UCLA and said he had gone to the section of the campus library that housed books pertaining to homosexuality. He related how, as he was browsing among the many books on the subject, one of them seemed to pull his hand to it and make him take it off the shelf. He scanned the book, found it might be interesting, and brought it home to read.

He became engrossed and kept saying things like "Wow, listen to this" or "listen to what he writes here," or "I wish you could read this." It seemed every five minutes he was interrupting my studies and concentration. I became so vexed and irritated by the interruptions that I told him to stop bothering me, that if he wanted me to read it, to translate the thing and I would. The book that had chosen him was an original copy of one of the 12 books of research written by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. I had inadvertently pointed Michael's activism in the direction of translating Ulrichs' works.

It just so happened I was taking journalism at LACC and had been assigned to work on the weekly school newspaper. I had written a few reviews and feature articles when one day the class advisor assigned me an opinion column to be published in two weeks. At the same time, my speech instructor had assigned that class to prepare and give a speech to inspire. A week went by. I still had not chosen a subject for either class. It was the Saturday before my assignments were due and I was reading through several Gay newspapers picked up from the local bar. The stories were not what would be classified as good news, mostly beatings, killings, raids of bars, and electro-shock therapy for homosexual behavior. Depressing stuff. I was sitting on the sun porch musing about my school assignments and commented to Michael that I should probably write and speak about homosexuality but didn't have the nerve, and I proceeded to mewl and pule about my school work.

"Here," Michael said, as he handed me several sheets of paper. "You wanted me to translate the Ulrichs I was reading, so here it is. Maybe this will inspire you."

It was titled Raging Sword (Gladius furens). I was intrigued immediately by the title and then the first words: "Speak, speak, or be judged!" I sat in the California sun and was mesmerized by what I was reading. It blew me away, as we were fond of saying in those days.

After reading the book, I sat down at the typewriter, and, using Raging Sword as inspiration, dashed off an opinion piece about coming out. I then took the same material and turned it into a speech to inspire. Finally, I wrote to all of my family. The article was printed. I gave my speech in front of the class. My family reacted favorably. I was scared but with those three steps I was out and happily out for good. To add to my new sense of worth, both assignments won me prizes, and a couple of family members came out to me.

Michael was urged by other friends and myself to translate Ulrichs' remaining books and to find a publisher. He did translate them but a publisher was difficult to find, so we hit upon the idea to publish them ourselves in manuscript form, which we did for the next 17 years. Our purpose has always been three: to make this work available in English, to show that the Gay rights movement started long before the 1969 Stonewall riots, and to popularize Ulrichs' life and work. As far as we know, Ulrichs is indeed the leader of the pack in defense of same-sex love. His life was so dramatic and tragic, his works so historic and inspirational, that Michael and I decided to do all we could to keep the name and work of this heroic pioneer alive.

After more than a dozen years of translating Ulrichs, Vern Bullough, a distinguished professor and a consulting editor at Prometheus Books, contacted Michael in 1990. Dr. Bullough had a sex classics in translation series in mind and offered to help publish Ulrichs' books. He also asked Michael to translate two works by Magnus Hirschfeld, the next really important person after Karl Heinrich Ulrichs to propel the Gay movement forward in a positive direction.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs entered my heart on that Saturday and has been with me ever since. His inspiration lifted all the dark clouds of being a homosexual that had hovered over me for more than 35 years, and since then I have devoted most of my life popularizing Ulrichs' life and work. Michael, who was leaning toward teaching German, instead became a translator. We hope you enjoy this web site and will take part in this celebration of pride.

The Odeon Theater History was made here: Karl Heinrich Ulrichs addressed the 500-member Association of German Jurists in Munich, Germany, on August 29, 1867. In the following excerpt, Ulrichs dramatically describes the occasion.

From Raging Sword (Gladius Furens 1868) by
Karl Ulrichs' signature

Until my dying day I will look back with pride when on August 29, 1867, I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the specter of an age-old, wrathful hydra which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.

What gave me strength at the last moment finally to mount the speaker's box at the Association of German Jurists was the awareness that at that very moment, the distant gaze of comrades of my nature was fixed on me. Should I return their trust with cowardice? Also giving me strength were thoughts still fresh, indeed, still smoldering, of a suicide caused by the ruling system, in Bremen in 1866. And also a letter I received as I was on my way to our session, informing me that a colleague had remarked about me, "Numa is afraid to take action."

In spite of all this, moments of weakness continued to assail me, and an evil voice whispered in my ear: "There's still time for silence, Numa. You need only to renounce the words you have prepared. Then your heart palpitations shall cease!"

But then it seemed to me as if another voice began to whisper. It was the warning not to be silent, the voice that had warned my predecessor Heinrich Hössli in Glarus [Switzerland] thirty years before, and which at that moment loudly resounded in my mind with all its force:

[Hössli wrote:] "Two paths lay before me: to write this book and expose myself to persecution, or not to write and be riddled with guilt when I enter my grave. For surely I have already been confronted with the temptation to give up writing. But then the images of Plato and the Greek poets and heroes would appear to me, those who belonged to the nature of Eros and in it became what they could become for humanity.

"And beside these images I saw before me what we have caused such men to become. Before my eyes appeared the images of the persecuted and of those already damned who are yet unborn, and I behold the unhappy mothers beside their cradles rocking cursed, innocent children! Then I saw our judges and their blindfolded eyes. Finally I envisioned the gravedigger sliding the cover of my coffin over my cold face.

"Then, before I became enslaved to him, the overwhelming urge to rise and stand up for the oppressed truth conquered me with all its power. And so I continued to write with my eyes resolutely turned away from those who labor for my annihilation. I do not have a choice between keeping silence and speaking. I say to myself: Speak, or be judged!"

I should like to be worthy of Hössli. I, too, did not desire to come under the hand of the gravedigger without having openly attested to my oppressed inalienable rights and without having broken through a narrow passage to freedom, even if with less renown than a greater name of the past.

With these thoughts and with my heart pounding in my breast, I mounted the speaker's box on August 29, 1867, in the Grand Hall of the Odeon Theater in front of more than 500 jurists of Germany, among whom were members of the German parliament and a Bavarian prince. I mounted with God!

...there was apparent amazement and scorn; isolated calls to adjourn...

...there was a tempestuous outcry, "Adjourn, adjourn!"...

...But now outbursts as loud as the previous ones came from the opposite side of the hall, "No, no, continue, continue..."

...There was a chaotic uproar and violent interruption. Uncommon excitement in the gathering on that side that previously called for adjournment...The president says, "I request that the speaker continue reading his proposal in Latin." But I took my notes and left the speaker's box...

THE GLASS PALACE: Ulrichs could have chosen not to attend the cocktail party for the Association of German Jurists. But he faced the jurists who had shouted him down and was determined to show them he was no coward. Ulrichs writes:

"During the banquet at the Glass Palace, where everyone gathered on the 30th, a few seemed to avoid my company because I had spoken out that Urnings also had a right to happiness, and at the same time some avoided me as a creature in whom this nature might dwell...but in contrast I had the satisfaction that others freely and loyally engaged in conversation with me."

Note on Hössli: It is not known whether he was Gay or whether he spoke out in defense of "the love of men," his words for homosexual men. He called for a history to be done by a more educated person; Ulrichs answered his call. Notes on the Odeon and Glass Palace. The Odeon has been "turned inside out." The theater is a courtyard, and the rooms of the building now surround the old theater hall. The Glass Palace no longer exits.

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The Journey to L'Aquila, Italy

ULRICHS MOVED TO L'AQUILA to improve his health. The chestnut forests reminded him of his hometown. He took long walks and often bathed in the nearby Aterno River. He also wrote while by the river. He loved the night sky and made note of it in his writings. When he died, Ulrichs would have been placed in a pauper's grave except that his friend Niccolò Persichetti had him buried beside the Persichetti family mausoleum. The civic cemetery is a few minutes' drive from L'Aquila

AFTER A VISIT TO L'AQUILA, author and historian John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) wrote in 1891:
"Aquila is worth a long journey. It has great character, and some unexpected beauties of art. The main thing there was Ulrichs. Ulrichs is Chrysostomos [the meaning of which is "golden-mouthed"] to the last degree, sweet, noble, a true gentleman and a man of genius."

See the photos left and right, above: Chrysostomos on parade!

Located 2,360 feet above sea level, L'Aquila lies 50 miles north east of Rome, 145 miles by rail. While in L'Aquila, take a tour. Because of their architectural design, the Franchi and Persichetti buildings, both of which are assumed to have been occupied by Ulrichs, are tooted as local attractions by the tourist office: go visit them! On the Web, search under "L'Aquila":

Food &

PLACES OF INTEREST: Where Ulrichs Lived in L'Aquila

via S. Teresa 7; photo: M.Consoli '02 Palazzo Persichetti, Piazza S. Maria di Roio 1; photo: R.Norton

Palazzo Franchi, via Sassa, 56 (apt. 5)

via S. Teresa, 7

Palazzo Persichetti,
Piazza S. Maria di Roio, 1

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Memory Book

E-MAIL AND TELL US WHAT you plan to do or did on August 28 to celebrate Ulrichs' birthday anniversary. Your reports will (it is hoped) be compiled and issued electronically in a Memory Book, a kind of Festschrift, a writing with reports about a celebration.

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Read All About it

HERE ARE SOME BOOKS TO READ while waiting to make that trip to L'Aquila, or to inspire you to plan a celebration.

English version available free on a pdf fileHubert Kennedy's excellent biography is available in English and German (English and German versions have been revised and republished). Kennedy is the first known person to have visited Ulrichs' grave (1983) since Magnus Hirschfeld (1909)

Heinrich Hössli (1784-1864). His Eros appeared in two volumes (1836 and 1838). The rosa Winkel [German=pink triangle] edition has a third, supplementary volume. Introduction by Manfred Herzer. -- all in German

Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) thoroughly referenced Karl Heinrich Ulrichs throughout his The Homosexuality of Men and Women, written originally in 1914. Chapter 38 contains a pithy biography of Ulrichs. A translation of the entire book has been published by Prometheus Books. Introduction by Dr. Vern L. Bullough

Research on the Riddle of "Man-Manly" Love contains the 12 books of research by Ulrichs in two volumes: Vindex (Vindicator), Inclusa (Inclusive), Vindicta (Rod of Freedom), Formatrix (She [Nature] Who Creates), Ara Spei (Refuge of Hope), Gladius Furens (Raging Sword), Memnon, Incubus, Argonauticus, Prometheus, Araxes (A River in Armenia), and Critische Pfeile (Critical Arrows) -- all in English. He also has much to say about the respect and promotion of women. In Ulrichs' day, the anti-"Gay" law did not apply to women. As you will see, he did his best anyway to include women, even so-called fallen women, in his call for equal rights. Introduction by Distinguished Professor Emeritus Dr. Vern L. Bullough, R.N.

Ulrichs' riddle of "man-manly" love and sailor stories are available in German from rosa Winkel press, edited by Ulrichs' biographer Hubert Kennedy and Wolfram Setz. Massimo Consoli (Rome) has completed a translation of Ulrichs' Vindex and Raging Sword (Spada Furente) into Italian. Lyman Hardy has completed a translation of Raging Sword into French (Le Glaive furieux) and Spanish (La Espada furiosa)

Ulrichs' Riddle of Man-Manly Love on the Web:

For more books by Ulrichs and about his life and times, and for some sites to support:

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Picture This!

THE IMAGES HERE SHOW the loving care individuals have given to make sure that Ulrichs' memory lives on.

At Ulrichs' burial, the Marquis Niccolò Persichetti gave the eulogy. At the end of his eulogy, he said:

"But with your loss, oh Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the fame of your works and your virtue will not likewise disappear...but rather, as long as intelligence, virtue, learning, insight, poetry and science are cultivated on this earth and survive the weakness of our bodies, as long as the noble prominence of genius and knowledge are rewarded, we and those who come after us will shed tears and scatter flowers on your venerated grave."

Persichetti's vision is becoming reality. Up until 1988, when Massimo Consoli started an annual celebration at Ulrichs' grave site, only a few people had visited the grave. The year 2000 saw the largest contingent (21) ever to be present at the cemetery since the original burial ceremony in 1895. Let this year bring representatives from around the world to cover Ulrichs' grave with flowers.

AUTHOR, LONG-TIME activist, and founder of the Italian Gay movement Massimo Consoli has held a ceremony at the cemetery since 1988 and hopes to do so again this year. Massimo is counting on large numbers showing up at Ulrichs' grave site so that local officials will give it the care it needs and the attention it deserves.

ON THE OCCASION OF the 100th anniversary of Ulrichs' death in 1995, Wolfram Setz and the Munich Ulrichs Committee set out to get a street named after Ulrichs. The results in 1998 are below:

BELOW: THE CONTINGENT of the National Gay Archives shows off its placards of Gay pioneers:

What's Happening? Hint: Search YouTube and Facebook under Karl's name for the latest happenings

* Available now from Palgrave Macmillan: The Correspondence of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs by Douglas O. Pretsell. This is a critical edition with 227 letters. Also available in English: Kindle Editions of Ulrichs' epigrams, poetry and songs: Little Latin Bee (originally Apicula Latina), On the Wings of the Little Bee (originally Auf Bienchens Flügeln), Greater Germany Program, Nassau-Taxis Postal Contract, and Postal Principality, all available at
* Ulrichs' gravestone: The original was restored in 2017 by archeology students at the University of Verona, and the gravestone rests on its original spot

* Ross Brooks has written "Transforming Sexuality: The Medical Sources of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825–95) and the Origins of the Theory of Bisexuality"

* Several Kindle Editions of Ulrichs' works are now available on Kindle Editions of Ulrichs' works

* After Stonewall Productions' "Before Homosexuality" includes an interview about Karl Heinrich Ulrichs' life and works

* Berlin, Germany: Street named after Ulrichs. See his Facebook page Photos of Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Straße

* Aurich gets its own Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Platz

* L'Aquila, Italy, Annual celebration at Karl Heinrich Ulrichs' grave site

* Check out Karl on YouTube: Gay Pioneer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

L'Aquila: visitors on 8/28/05; photo: Maya

Alba Montori and Claudio Mori came up with the idea of an "Ulrichs Award"; publisher Angelo Quattrocchi (Malatempora) revealed his intention to issue "Manor", one of Ulrichs' vampire stories; Maya and Barbara stressed that the presence of Ornella represented the first offical participation of a Trans at the ceremony. Roberto Massari brought a few bottles of his "Rosso Gayardo" dedicated to Ulrichs, and everyone drank a toast
--Massimo Consoli, 8/29/05.

L'Aquila: visitors in '04; photo: M. Consoli

Ulrichs Celebrations 2003: L'Aquila; Augusta, Georgia
L'Aquila: Padre Nello, M. Consoli, Roberto Schena, Fabio Croce, Antonio DiGiandomenico; photo: MOA L'Aquila: Marching toward the grave; Fuori (Out) banner; photo: MOA Augusta, Georgia: Mike & Paul

[Left] L'Aquila: cemetery caretaker Father Nello greets founder of the ceremony Massimo Consoli; Ulrichs' publisher Fabio Croce; other activists, the media, and a politician. [Right] L'Aquila: Massimo leads the march to Ulrichs' grave. [Center] Augusta, Georgia: At the Parliament House Gay resort, Mike & Paul display Ulrichs' posters and offer cards inviting guests to visit Ulrichs' website.

Ulrichs Celebrations 2002: Hildesheim, L'Aquila, Bremen

Franz Karl unveils Ulrichs' plaques in Hildesheim; photo: *HAZ* Jörg helps to unveil Ulrichsplatz sign in Bremen; photo: Ulrichsplatz AG Hildesheim Gay Friendship Circle founder (left) unveils plaques in Ulrichs' honor, to be mounted on a public building. Massimo Consoli did the honors at Ulrichs' gravesite (below). Among the visitors were members of the newly formed L'Aquila Homosexual Movement, which also created a website. Visitors to Ulrichs' grave, L'Aquila; photo: MOA The Bremen Ulrichsplatz Action Group (right) created a webpage, set up an email mailing list, and planned a streetfair around the dedication of Ulrichsplatz.

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And Everything Else You Might Want to Know

AFTER VISITING ULRICHS' GRAVE in L'Aquila on April 18, 1909, Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) was inspired to write a short, detailed account of his experience in his book, The Homosexuality of Men and Women:

It was a happy coincidence that Ulrichs' patron in L'Aquila, the aged marquis, Dr. Niccolò Persichetti, was still living, and personally was able to show me all the quarters "the German professor" blessed with his presence. He told me about other interesting details about Ulrichs' last years. With every story, Persichetti added at the end:

"Oh, he was an extraordinary man, very respectable, admirable, but too modest. I first heard of him at the senate in Rome. The minister of education asked me, 'What kind of man is he, the one who publishes a Latin newspaper where you live in L'Aquila? Queen Margherita reads it, and she is totally charmed by it.'"

[Persichetti responded] "There must be some kind of mistake. There is no one there who could do that.

"When I returned," Ulrichs' patron continued, "I inquired at the police station, but no one knew anything about it. Someone finally said to me, 'Perhaps you mean the elderly German whom you can always see hurrying along the street, alone, with books under his arm.' I went to look him up [Persichetti showed me the old corner house] where he lived, and found him in total desperation. Just the night before, a fire in his apartment had burned all his books and papers, all his belongings. I gave him lodgings [Persichetti continued] in a house that I had inherited from my ancestors. There just happened to be an empty attic room with a splendid view of the Gran Sasso d'Italia (Great Stone Mountain).

"Look, [Persichetti led me up a dark staircase] he used to write up here; that is where his bed used to be. Over there is his desk at the window, where he could see way out into the distance. Here is where he put his flowers, which he loved so much, and over there he cooked his own meals, which certainly occurred only rarely, because he lived almost exclusively on bread, cheese, eggs, milk, and fruit, with which he occasionally took some local wine. I would like to have a plaque affixed to the house in his memory [the marquis said as we went down the stairs].

"He often came to visit us. On Sundays 'il professore' always came to eat at our family table. I always served Rhine wine at these meals. My children were always around him. You could ask him anything you wanted; he knew about everything. I have never seen such a memory or such knowledge. He knew about every coin, every little picture, every book. He especially knew how to tell a story. There was nothing foreign to him about astronomy, botany, philology, and philosophy. One time when he came to visit us, my Edoardo was brooding over some mathematical problem that he could not solve. He not only helped him to get on the right track, but at the same time also told who had first set up this problem and something about the man's personality.

"His needs were so few it was astonishing. My wife several times wanted to make a present to him of new clothes, but he constantly refused them. Besides us, he socialized only with an aged Austrian woman; otherwise there were no other Germans living here. Ever since he arrived here he never again set foot out of the place or its surroundings--the Abruzzi Mountains. He wandered a lot around the area. He much preferred the chestnut forests; they appeared to him to be a piece of the south of Germany, he told me.

"When once he failed to appear after a long time, I went up to see him. There he had been in bed for four days alone in his attic room in great pain. It was probably a bladder infection, because he was unable to pass water. I called for the doctor. He said he immediately had to go to the municipal hospital. But he did not want to part with his books and flowers. But in the end I did bring him to our hospital. When on the next day I went to visit him in his nice, clean hospital room [Persichetti showed it to me] he said to me, beaming with all his modesty, 'Oh, Marquis, I am so comfortable here. From my bed I can see your country home in the mountains, where I so often was happy with your family. And just think of my delight when yesterday evening I heard the sisters singing nearby in my beloved Latin--"Ora pro nobis" (pray for us) and "Pater noster" (Our Father), and "Ave Maria" (Hail Mary). It made me much more relaxed.'"

After Ulrichs had been in the hospital for five days, Persichetti brought him a diploma that the University of Naples had conferred on him in recognition of his Latin newspaper, Alaudae (Larks: the songbirds). He was even too ill to read it himself. He only smiled contentedly and died soon after in the arms of Persichetti. He still has this diploma in his safekeeping. He also possesses various Latin publications by Ulrichs, as well as his Uranian writings in the original editions; he also showed me a picture taken in his last years, a very small photograph that we looked at with a magnifying glass, an elderly, gray-bearded man with a little black cap in the circle of the Persichetti family.

"Of his anthropological studies," the marquis said, and thereby meant the homosexual question, "he spoke about them here in L'Aquila only very rarely. He devoted all his interest to the care of Latin. His newspaper had enthusiastic admirers on every continent. Besides the Queen of Italy there also was King Oscar of Sweden who subscribed. Colonel Young wrote him a letter in Latin every day from England. The people whom he fought for no longer bothered themselves about him."

That is how the aged Marquis Niccolò Persichetti concluded his statement. He had Ulrichs placed in a grave beside the Persichetti family mausoleum.

On the afternoon of that day, I made inquiries at the cemetery located about a half an hour from L'Aquila in a picturesque valley in the Abruzzi Mountains. When I asked about the grave site of Carlo Arrigo Ulrichs, the aged grounds keeper said to me that in the 14 years since his being laid to rest, I was the first person who had asked about the estranged German.

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Birthday Suggestions

ACTIVISM TAKES MANY FORMS and one person makes a difference. Here's a list of ways to take part in the celebration.

The important point is to take part in some way or another. There are many other ways to do so. Use that imagination.

1. Mark all your calendars -- August 28.
2.Take a vacation to Italy and include a stop in L'Aquila for the noontime informal meeting with people from around the world. Bring a spoonful of earth to sprinkle on his grave; also bring a small flag of your state or country.
3. Send the e-mail and web site information on to at least one friend -- more if possible.
4. Make copies of the e-mail and web site to hand out to friends or clients who may be interested.
5. Check his books and biography out at the library. If they do not have them request they be acquisitioned.
6. Come out to someone - family or friends.
7. Invite friends out to dinner and raise a toast to Ulrichs.
8. Invite friends to a dinner and serve Italian or German food and of course raise a toast to Ulrichs.
9. Plan a hiking trip to the Apennines and the Gran Sasso with a stop in L'Aquila at noon on Aug. 28.
10. Have your favorite bar plan a military night in his name - Ulrichs was attracted to men in uniform.
11. Encourage your favorite bar to have an Ulrichs night with a special on German beer and Italian if they have it.
12. Patronize a Gay business -- travel agents, bars, baths, restaurants, bookstores.
13. Pride Committees and Gay History Month Committees: make him a central figure.
14. Write Letters to the Editor to remember Ulrichs every August 28.
15. Publishers: have writers do a feature story.
16. Writers: dedicate your book to him.
17. Plan a cocktail party.
18. Remember him and his work in your prayers.
19. Light a candle, burn incense.
20. Teachers: plan a special lesson around his life and works.
21. Lawyers: do a pro bono case in his name. He was a lawyer who often helped those arrested for "lewd" conduct.
22. Students: write a paper on his life and work or give a speech.
23. Plant a flower garden in his name. Ulrichs loved flowers and gardening.
24. Plant a garden to attract butterflies. Ulrichs loved and cultivated butterflies.
25. Bake a cake and share it with family, friends or coworkers.
26. If alone on his birthday raise a toast to him even if it's only with a glass of water.
27. Listen to the "Ave Maria". Ulrichs, on his death bed in a hospital, enjoyed listening to the nuns sing it in the evenings.
28. Carry a placard with his name or picture on it in your local Pride parade.
29. Copy and use his picture on anything you can customize: pens, pencils, T-shirts, note paper.
30. Create a rubber stamp and put it on all outgoing mail.
31. Donate to an AIDS fund or to the P-Flag scholarship or any fund in Ulrichs' name.
32. Encourage translations from all languages to recapture TransLesBiGay history.
33. Establish a scholarship or award in Ulrichs' name.
34. Hold hands. Ulrichs believed touch was paramount to "same-sex" feelings.
35. Fly the rainbow flag on Aug. 28.
36. Frame and put his picture on your desk top.
37. Plan and hold a candlelight celebration or walk.
38. Place your celebration plans in newspaper happenings section.
39. Religious groups: plan a special program.
40. Send flowers to yourself or a loved one.
41. Save this website as your desktop.
42. Tell someone Ulrichs is the first known person to come out of the closet to demand equal rights for oppressed men and women.
43. Serve a special meal: spaghetti with Abruzzo-style sauce (L'Aquila is in the Abruzzo region): pork, red peppers, bay leaf, plum tomatoes, 2/3 cup dry red wine, salt, pepper (vegetarians: substitute meat with broccoli).
44. Vote to repeal all sodomy laws (done!) and the so-called U.S. Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); vote to abolish age of consent inequality (19 for Gays; 16 for others!).
45. Write an E-mail for the Memory Book
46. Support marriage for Gays: Massachusetts! Connecticut! Iowa! Vermont....
47. Visit Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Platz in Munich, Stuttgart, Aurich and Frankfurt; Ulrichsplatz in Bremen; Piazzale Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in L'Aquila; Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Strasse in Hannover and Berlin; Memorial Plaques in Goettingen and Hildesheim

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Please select this link if you'd like to view the Memory Book. If this site and the time you spent here has stirred your imagination, please send E-mail, even if just to say you read this, what you might have learned, and what you did, in your own way, to celebrate. RSVP in most any Western European language.

PJ Nash & Michael Lombardi-Nash
Updated for: 2024: In Memory of Paul "PJ" Nash
We Remember
September 11, 2001: Gay Victims & Heroes

Visitors since August 7, 2000
Copyright (C) 1999 by Lombardi-Nash